Original U.S. Vietnam War Named 8th Special Forces Group Green Beret by Bancroft
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a very good condition BERET, MANS, WOOL, in the correct RIFLE GREEN color of the U.S. Army Special Forces, usually referred to as the "Green Berets". The owner of this rare beret served in the 8th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during the Vietnam war era. The beret is offered in very good condition and also features a correct Special Forces enamel pin and a yellow/blue 8th SFG (A) patch flash. The Beret is roughly a size 7 3/4 (56cm). There is a lovely Bancroft black diamond label in the crown with a paper name label in the sleeve beneath it.
The label is as follows:
THIS BANCROFT BELONGS TO:
Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the name, we have not been able to locate service information for Douglas Macmillan, making this a wonderful research opportunity!
It is in very good condition, and does not look to have seen much wear. A great piece of Vietnam militaria!
8th Special Forces Group
The 8th Special Forces Group of the United States Army was established in 1963 at Fort Gulick, Panama Canal Zone. The primary mission of the 8th Special Forces Group (Airborne) [(SFG(A)] was counter-insurgency training for the armies of Latin America. Some training was performed under the sponsorship of the School of the Americas, also located at Fort Gulick.
In May 1962, the advance party from Company D, 7th SFG(A) departed from Ft. Bragg, NC to Fort Gulick, Panama, at that time in the Panama Canal Zone, to establish the 8th SFG(A). Three months later, in August 1962, Major Melvin J. Sowards, Commander of Company D, 7th SFG(A) moved the main body of the company to the Canal Zone. They would be followed by augmentation detachments. Upon their arrival, the basic organization of the Special Action Force (SAF) was completed and Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer assumed command. The legendary Lieutenant Colonel Arthur D. Simons, aka "Bull", then took command of Company D, 7th SFG(A) 18 January 1963 and LTC Sawyer became the Executive Officer. On 12 April 1963, under the command of LTC Simons, the SAF elements of the 7th SFG(A) were officially redesignated, as authorized by the Department of the Army and the 8th SFG(A) was activated.
The 8th's full designation was 8th Special Forces Group (ABN), Special Action Force (SAF), Latin America. The 8th was the US Army's only full SAF. In addition to the two line Special Forces companies, the SAF included a Military Intelligence detachment, a Medical detachment, a Military Police detachment, an Engineer detachment, an Army Security Agency detachment, and 9th Psychological Operations Battalion.
Special Forces at this time didn't use designators like "battalion". A Special Forces company (which later became a battalion) was commanded by a Lt. Colonel and was designated as a "C" team. The 8th had 2 "C" teams. Each "C" team had 3 "B" teams and each "B" team had 5 "A" teams. The 8th SAF also operated the NCO Academy, Airborne School and Underwater Operations School for the United States Army South (USARSO). They also provided support for the Jungle Warfare School at Fort Sherman, later renamed the Jungle Operations Training Center.
Company A of the 8th Group was tasked with developing and maintaining a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) team, Detachment A-13, that was prepared to make covert free-fall entry to denied airspace by jumping from altitudes in excess of 30,000 feet. The team trained at the abandoned airstrip at Rio Hato, Panama, and conducted the first HALO school outside of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, at Fort Gulick, Canal Zone, in the late 1960s and 70s. The HALO team also had a good-will mission as the "Jumping Ambassadors" and conducted exhibition parachute jumps at carnivals, festivals and other public events throughout Latin America.
A Mobile Training Team (MTT) from the 8th Special Forces Group trained and advised the Bolivian Ranger Battalion that captured and killed Che Guevara in the fall of 1967.
Prior to that time, MTTs from the 8th Special Forces Group trained counter-insurgent units in Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador that killed three of Che Guevara's best friends and Lieutenants that he had personally dispatched to those three nations to foment revolutions.
MTTs were sent to Argentina from 1962 to 1970 to provide training in recoilless rifles to their army, road construction/maintenance, logistics, as well as English language skills.
MTTs from the 8th Special Forces Group also assisted the Venezuelan Army in the construction of their jump school. They trained the first students and the cadre for following classes. They also assisted the Dominican Republic by training a Dominican Army mountain battalion in counter guerrilla warfare.
At the U.S. Army Airborne School at Ft. Sherman in the U.S. Canal Zone, a team of the 8th Special Forces Group trained Guatemalan airborne personnel.
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